This week was one of transition for weather across Alaska, with Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau all recording the first measurable snowfalls of the year.


Winter weather in Southeast Alaska began last Sunday, with a widespread early snowfall across the panhandle. The Juneau International Airport recorded 5.1 inches of snow on Sunday, a new daily record. This was the first time Juneau recorded snow before Fairbanks since 1940, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The average date of the first snowfall in Juneau is November 4.


Other parts of Southcentral Alaska recorded the first measurable snowfall on Sunday and Monday, with one to three inches reported on parts of the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound.



Fairbanks recorded 0.5 inches of snow on Thursday, the first measurable snow of the season. This is the seventh-latest first measurable snowfall for the city, which usually sees it’s first snow around October 1.


Anchorage followed close behind, with 0.20 inches of snow recorded between midnight and 1 a.m. Friday morning, the first measurable snowfall of the season.


During Daylight Saving Time, the National Weather Service uses a 24-hour period of 1 a.m. to 1 a.m. to record climate statistics. That means Anchorage’s 0.20 inches will be marked on October 20 in the record books as the first snowfall.


Snow continued falling well into the morning hours in Anchorage, with 2.4 inches of snow recorded through 7 a.m. at the NWS office in Sand Lake. Reports from around the Anchorage bowl included totals of up to 6.0 inches. This snowfall comes a few days later than the average date of October 16. The first measurable snowfall in the 2015-2016 season occurred on September 29.


Areas in the Susitna Valley began seeing snow on Thursday, with an estimated 2 to 3 inches falling in the Talkeetna area. Reports from the Matanuska Valley ranged from 3 to 8 inches on Friday, with snows still falling as of 11 a.m.


KTVA meteorologist Rachael Penton can be reached by email, or on Facebook or Twitter.